Why is PET plastic used?

What are the properties of PET?

The use of PET plastic containers guarantees safety and optimum preservation of the product it contains as it is a very innocuous material. Its manufacture is economical as it is carried out in fully automatic lines and in long series and minimizes the environmental impact as it is largely manufactured with recycled materials and is completely recyclable.

Companies that need to package their products, especially food products, must look for the best alternatives to their packaging and usually resort to PET plastic packaging manufacturers.

PET containers are usually transparent plastic containers that are recyclable and safe, so they are the most suitable for food packaging. They are also containers with a strong compromise between the quality of the container, its functionality with the food and the very low cost.

One of the PET containers that we are all most familiar with are PET tubs, where some of the foods that we usually buy in supermarkets are packaged. The plastic bottles in which water is bottled for consumption are another example of PET plastic containers.

Uses of pet

In the world, and in Chile, there is currently a strong offensive against single-use plastic products, which seeks to eliminate from the market those containers and utensils of short life that after a punctual use -such as coffee stirrers or plastic spoons- quickly end up in the garbage. But there are other plastics that sometimes fall into this category, such as polyethylene terephthalate (known as PET), which is not only completely recyclable, but also supports a growing recycling industry. Therefore, disposing of it not only generates pollution, but is also a waste of money and raw materials.

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“We need to implement a more far-reaching system for the collection of recyclable waste, because what exists are operations that are atomized. At TriCiclos we manage the most extensive network for the collection of recyclable materials (clean points) and what we manage, compared to the total, is very low, because the REP Law has not yet come into force and this is not mandatory,” explains Verónica de la Cerda, general manager of TriCiclos.

PET plastic characteristics

Chemically, PET is a polymer obtained by a polycondensation reaction between terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. It belongs to the group of synthetic materials called polyesters.

The physical properties of PET and its ability to meet various technical specifications have been the reasons why the material has achieved significant development in the production of textile fibers and in the production of a wide variety of packaging, especially in the production of bottles, trays, strapping and sheets.

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It was first produced in 1941 by British scientists Whinfield and Dickson, who patented it as a polymer for the manufacture of fibers[1] It should be remembered that their country was at war and there was a pressing need to find substitutes for cotton from Egypt.

This process yields styrene and other aromatic hydrocarbons with very short reaction times, thanks to the good mass and heat transfers achieved. The great disadvantage of this degradation option lies in the costs of the process and in the fact that the products obtained are basically the same as in thermal and catalytic cracking.

Pet plastic

Plastic is a material used in countless products and applications. Since it was invented more than a century ago, this material has become the main element in the manufacture of toys, furniture, kitchen utensils, footwear, etc.

At first glance, they may all look the same, but nothing could be further from the truth. Each plastic is a world of its own and special care must be taken when using them, as they can be very dangerous in terms of toxicity.

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Risks: Depending on the temperatures to which it is subjected or its repeated use (filling of water bottles) it can release antimony and phthalate. It may seem alarming but it is not so much, as the concentrations needed to affect our health are far from those measured in studies of this plastic.

Risks: The main contaminants, and although they do not affect us directly, is the amount of toxic products that are used in its manufacture and that result after its use. These toxics are, among others, lead, dioxin, ethylene vinyl chloride, etc.